26 December 2015

Unseasonal

Outside the temperature is heading towards the high 30s.  Inside I am packing for winter as I am soon to leave for the northern hemisphere.  Reports on the television news indicate that the temperatures there are very mild and I wonder if this eternity scarf which I have just finished will be needed.


It will go into the suitcase anyway just in case the temperature decides to plummet and then I am sure its warmth will be welcome.




I wish everyone a wonderful, healthy and successful 2016.

The pattern for this came from The Purl Bee site.  The instructions are for a scarf but I turned it into an eternity scarf by sewing the ends together.

03 December 2015

Queen Anne table makeover and a recipe

It's been a long time since anything received a makeover and I was beginning to worry that the tin of white paint might have dried up.

Mum gave me this little Queen Anne side table some time ago and it has been waiting patiently for its makeover, which, as you can see, it is in dire need of, or should that be - of which it is in dire need.  


Very dark and dreary isn't it.


It has a tapestry under glass which sadly has seen better days.  Mum did the tapestry during the second World War when tapestry wool was impossible to find and she used regular knitting wool. The moths have been enjoying it and the table has provided a home for various other creatures.  I hate to throw the tapestry away given its age and provenance, but can't imagine what I can possibly do with it it.  Mum has told me to get rid of it, but despite that it survives.



My first task was to take the table apart to see what I was dealing with.  I didn't want to keep the glass top and I thought this might be a problem which proved to be the case when I had removed it.   I needed a piece of wood but the one currently on the table was too big to fit under the frame.  This wouldn't have been a problem if I had the right tools for the job, but as I think I have mentioned before, the tools in our shed are extremely basic and do not run to fancy saws.  I don't even know what sort of saw I needed for this job, but whatever it was, it definitely doesn't live here.







Using the piece of glass I measured the size I needed on the plywood and then started looking around for something to cut it with.  I remembered  that I had a knife in the kitchen which was supposed to cut anything, even metal.  It was one of those promotional products being demonstrated at the supermarket one day and I got duped into buying it.  You never know when you might need to cut a coin in half as the demonstrator was doing.

So I got out the knife and started sawing.  It cut but oh so slowly and I thought I would be there until doomsday so I had a rethink.


If you are a professional DIYer and you know your way around a toolbox, look away now.  Yes, I got out the pruning saw.  Well, they prune wood don't they and I needed to cut wood.


Again, it cut but very slowly and made a terrible mess of the edges.

I had made a super healthy slice a bit earlier and it needed to go into the oven.  As I thought I would soon be in need of some sustenance, I went inside to cook it and brought the timer outside with me so I wouldn't forget it which I have been known to do.


I went back to my sawing hacking and happened to glance over at the piece of tapestry which I had removed.  What an idiot, it had been attached to a piece of wood exactly the size I needed.  All I had to do was remove the tapestry and I had my table top.


Not pretty!


It was definitely time for a tea break. The slice was out of the oven and was smelling good.  Filled with healthy goodies, puffed rice, chia, pepitas, LSA, almond butter, pine nuts, it would give me the energy I needed to keep going.    All that table top pruning had worn me out!  Recipe here .






Then it was time to put everything back together.  For some reason, I didn't take any photos.  I must have been so energised I just wanted to keep going. A couple of coats of white chalk paint and a light distressing and my little table was looking a lot happier.  I took her inside and put her in the white corner where she provides a wonderful resting place for a jug of roses and a cup of tea.






She didn't turn out too badly for such a rough job and let's face it, roses make anything look beautiful.

Now I am looking around for the next victim and and I don't have  to look far.  They are practically queuing up for a fresh new look.  I just have to find the time.

25 November 2015

Playtime

I love nothing better than arranging flowers in a vase.  Well, that might be a slight overstatement, but it certainly does give me a lot of pleasure.  So when the time came to make the final block of my China Shop quilt, I knew it was going to be just like playtime.  After fussy-cutting the largest fabric flowers I could find in my stash I played for ages placing  them in their vase until I was happy with the arrangement.  




When I was satisfied (although I could have kept playing for hours) I dabbed a little bit of glue behind each flower to keep it in place and then started to free motion stitch them down.  I have never done raw edge appliquĂ© before, mainly because being the neat freak I am, I can never get my head around all those frayed edges and loose threads.











The latest issue of Homespun magazine has all the instructions for putting this huge quilt together. After almost 12 months work,  I am really hoping it all comes together without any problems.

 

There is one thing I will say for this quilt, it has forced me to try many new techniques which I might otherwise not have attempted.

16 November 2015

Christmas challenge

It's been a while since my quilting group has had a challenge and so this year we decided to each make a Christmas table runner.  I find it very hard to feel very Christmassy until much closer to the big day but thought I had better make a start on something.  I searched Pinterest for ideas and found this Christmas tree which I liked because of its simplicity.  Then I found some fabrics which were also simple and not too bright and made three little trees.





I finished it with some straight line quilting and it was done.



I can't say I am delighted with it because I am not and I think that maybe I haven't put enough effort into it.  I know that the other members of  the group will produce table runners which are lot more interesting and look more Christmassy than mine.  However, I am not really into table runners of any season and I even wonder if I will use this one.  Ho Ho Ho, or should that be Ho Hum.

10 November 2015

An abundance of avocados



Avocados would have to be one of my favourite fruits and I have been so lucky this year because both daughter M and sister-in-law J have lovely big avocado trees in their gardens. 


J's tree in particular is literally dripping with fruit and every couple of weeks we visit her to fill a bucket full of the delicious green orbs. 

  

It is not easy work as her trees are very tall, but it is so worth the effort when you can bring home bounty like this.




I am not looking forward to the time when we have stripped the trees and I have to start paying for avocados again. Ouch!

06 November 2015

Scary stuff

A while ago, I got into my car to drive 'somewhere' and I had only just left the driveway when I suddenly realised that I had no idea where I was going.  For a couple of seconds I was panic-stricken. All I could think about was the book and movie "Still Alice" about an intelligent, vibrant woman who was suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease.  Was I "Still Di"?  Thank goodness I remembered where I was supposed to be going and it hasn't happened again, but it still terrifies me when I think about it.

A few mornings after that I was on my way to the pool in Claremont for my early morning  swim when I happened to glance at my phone which was on the seat next to me and this is what I saw -



WHAT???  I have never asked Siri to  give me directions to the pool, nor have I entered this activity into my calendar or requested Google maps for directions.  How did 'she'/Google know where I was going.  I swim three mornings a week and I have been monitoring my phone every day since that first morning.  Sure enough, on each of my swimming mornings, when I turn on the car I get a message about how long it is going to take me to get to Claremont and what the traffic situation is.   Not only that, when I get into the car to drive home from the pool, I get this message -



At first I thought, Siri, this is beyond the call of duty but then I remembered that day when I did not know where I was going and I thought that maybe Siri  knew how terrified I was and decided to give me a little nudge so I wouldn't forget where I was supposed to be headed.

Oh this is scary stuff.


02 November 2015

Bountiful blueberries

It has been a wonderful season for blueberries.  Every couple of days I pick a bowlful like this and John and I enjoy them with our nightly fruit salad.


I'm not sure whether this  bounty is the result of Mother Nature, the fact that after several years growth my bush is bigger and more productive or, as I suspect, because the little people have to spend more time at kindergartens and schools, they have less time to visit me and, therefore, are not here to pick the berries before I can.   I really miss their visits and would gladly sacrifice a few berries if they could continue.



Whatever the reason, we are really enjoying these little bursts of sweetness,


and there is the promise on the bush of many more to come.